On January 25, a new program entitled Shinrin-Yoku (Forest Therapy) allowed participants to explore the woods in a new way.
Shinrin-Yoku, also known as Forest Therapy or Forest Bathing, is a Japanese tradition born from a high-stress environment. It is a cornerstone of preventative healthcare and healing in Japanese medicine. Shinrin-Yoku includes breathing, relaxing, smelling, and listening to the forest.
The January 25 program took place at Laport Reserve, and was led by Seasonal Park Naturalist Debra Reed. The group walked a short distance into the woods, and sat down in a circle to enjoy some poetry and some guided meditation. Debra led the group through exploring the forest with the senses of sight, hearing, smelling, and touch, and ended with another poem and the taste of herbal tea.
Future Shinrin-Yoku classes take place on February 22 at Miquin Woods, March 29 at Round Mountain, April 26 at Musconetcong Gorge, and May 24 at Wescott Preserve. All programs run from 11:00 AM to 12:00 PM and cost $5 a person. Pre-registration is required; please visit http://www.co.hunterdon.nj.us/depts/parks/parks.htm to download a registration form or call (908) 782-1158 for more information. The programs cap at ten people and are filling up quickly!
Participants should bring a camping chair if they are uncomfortable sitting on the ground, or indicate on their registration form that they would like to borrow one. Please note that no restroom facilities are available at these parks.